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Irish in 54bn rescue

City A.M. Reporter
A LONG-AWAITED law that will set up a &ldquo;bad bank&rdquo; in Ireland to pay for banks&rsquo; risky commercial property loans is expected to be passed by parliament by mid-November.<br /><br />In the biggest financial rescue package in Ireland&rsquo;s history, the government will pay out &euro;54bn (&pound;48bn) to take the toxic loans off the books of its biggest lenders and transfer them to the new National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). <br /><br />Shares in Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland, which will take part in the scheme, fell sharply last week after finance minister Brian Lenihan warned that the launch of the state agency could be delayed by prolonged parliamentary debate.<br /><br />But the shares recovered after he reassured the markets that the legislation was on track to be enacted by mid-November. This will allow NAMA to start moving the biggest loans away from the banks by the year end.<br /><br />&ldquo;The markets are watching us and there are people complaining we are not moving fast enough,&rdquo; said the government&rsquo;s chief whip Pat Carey. <br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re hoping it will be wrapped up and completed on November 12.&rdquo;<br /><br />The other lenders involved in the scheme are Anglo Irish Bank, EBS Building Society and Irish Nationwide Building Society.<br /><br />Critics have attacked the plan for placing a burden on taxpayers but others say it will kick-start lending.<br />